Ruling the Thanksgiving table with a well-prepared side-dish. That’s what the holiday is all about. And, sure, “thankfulness.” But everybody is thankful when the slop brought to the feast is delicious.
While putting this week's food feature together, there were a few recipes I was unable to include. The first comes from Chef Robert Reynolds, who learned the dish from Madeleine Kamman. When he described it to me over the phone, I was very intrigued. It’s a tricky, playful, two-part dish that combines potatoes wrapped in chard leaves with sautéed pairs. The pears are nestled together with the wrapped potatoes and cause a bit of surprise when guests mistake the pear for the potato and vice versa.
POTATO PACKETS WITH SAUTEED PEARS
8 swiss chard leaves
6 tbsp flour
2 onions finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 baked potatoes, hot from the oven
1 clove garlic, minced
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
2 Bartlett pears, under ripe
flour for dusting
2 tablespoons unsalted butter for sauteing
2 tablespoons honey
pinch of quatre epices (mixture of peppercorn, nutmeg, clove, ginger)
1/3 cup golden raisins
Blanch the leaves quickly. Refresh under cold water and set aside. Add lemon juice to the same water and blanch the chard ribs. Remove and set aside.
Sauté onions in 2 tablespoons butter till soft, then add chard stems. Remove pulp from baked potatoes. Rice potatoes over onions. Add a bit of butter, salt and pepper. Add garlic, nutmeg and finally cheese; mix well. Stuff egg sized lumps of potato into chard leaves, and wrap into a small packet. Dust pears with flour, and sauté in butter till golden. Present potato packets with sautéed pears, finish with quatre epices, honey, and raisins. Serve hot.
Recently in a large tent outside Kell’s Irish Pub, Ann Jones of Littleton, Colorado, took top honors in the Tillamook Macaroni n’ Cheese Cook-Off. Not only did she impress the judges, but in a cook-off oddity, she also managed to win as audience favorite.
This Mac is quite good with its tasty chicken/apple sausage and cheddar pairing, not to mention the side of autumn chutney. How impressed will the host of your Turkey Day feast be that you’ve brought a side-dish to go with your side-dish? Very, I’d suspect.
RUSTIC FRIED SAGE AND CHICKEN APPLE SAUSAGE MAC-N-CHEESE WITH AUTUMN CHUTNEY
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
4 links chicken and apple sausage (12 ounces total), cooked, then sliced 1/4 inch thick
16 ounces Cavatappi pasta
4 tablespoons Tillamook® Unsalted Butter plus extra for buttering dish
¼ cup flour
2 cups cream
2 cups whole milk
4 cups (16 ounces) shredded Tillamook® Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs made from ciabatta or sourdough
Place rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9-X-13 inch baking dish.
In a large heavy skillet over medium heat add oil. Fry sage leaves until crispy, 3-5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Coarsley chop and set aside.
Using same skillet, over medium heat, add sausage and cook until brown on both sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
In a large pot bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta. Cook according to package directions, stirring occasionally. Pasta is done when it is slightly chewy to the bite or al dente. Drain pasta in a colander. Set aside.
Prepare sauce while pasta is cooking. In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Gradually add cream and milk and bring just to a boil, continuing to whisk. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking often until sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and add cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until cheese is melted and smooth. Gently stir in pasta, reserved sage and sausage. Stir until well combined. Pour into prepared baking dish and sprinkle top evenly with breadcrumbs.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until cheese is bubbly and top begins to brown. Let sit 5 minutes before serving. Serve with Autumn Chutney.
Serves 8- 10
For Autumn Chutney:
1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped Granny Smith apples
3/4 cup peeled and chopped Golden Delicious apples
1/4 cup diced onion
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 ¼ cups apple cider
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup chopped plums
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves
In a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat combine apples, onion, ginger, sugar, salt, pepper flakes, cider and vinegar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until apples soften and begin to break down, about 10 minutes. Stir in plums and simmer until plums start to soften and chutney is thickened. Remove from heat and stir in sage.
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